Friendship

It was a break from the routine of the past nine months.

My wife has been in East Asia for the past ten days, and before her trip came up I thought a good distraction from her departure would be to bring the kids to visit my parents in Florida. I then thought it would be a good time to coordinate a trip with a few friends to Puerto Rico to go surfing.

OK. It was a vacation. But vacations do not always end up providing the type of respite you were expecting.

Really, I wasn't expecting anything, and I wasn't expecting much rest. Traveling cross-country with two young boys is tiring – they're desire to sit still for six hours of air travel is small — but I have to honest; they are really easy to deal with. So traveling wasn't so bad. I was, however, anxious about arriving at my parent's house — there was unfinished business to attend to regarding my finally coming clean about how I'd been behaving towards them.

For years I had kept the full truth from my parents. Always trying to play the role of the good son, I was always trying to please my parents, my wife, my friends, and find that middle ground between everyone. What I always failed to see was that in trying to make everyone happy, I was making no one happy and causing myself a lot of unnecessary angst.

So I lead my mea culpa by saying "I'm sorry for never really telling you the truth, and always leading you to believe I saw things differently." It's amazing how relieving that moment was, and how receptive my parents were to it. After all our relationship is as much predicated on friendship now as anything, and I believe you can't have an honest relationship with anyone unless you respect their opinion. Given that logic, how could anyone have a good relationship with me if I never let them know my true opinion. Always giving half truths never allows anyone to have any respect in you.

This change of course with my parents lead to a whole slew of other more emotional discoveries, including how much sympathy, pain and sadness I have for the conditions under which my parents currently have to live. You see, seven years ago my father was struck by a car while crossing the road and was rendered a paraplegic. He was just getting himself back on his feet financially when this occurred. Too bad, however, that it happened overseas, in an Arab state, and not here in the US. The insh-allah (God-willing) mentality in the Arab states means that my father's law suit against the man that hit him lead to barely enough money to cover half of his medical bills.

The levels of irony and tragedy in their story are many, but through it all they are still vibrant and engaged, and wonderful friends of mine. I'm amazed at how much closer I feel to them after coming clean about what I really want in certain situations.

Well, while visiting my parents I left my boys with them for four days to fly to Puerto Rico to surf. The idea was an extension of a trip I had begun planning twelve years before. Every spring, for ten years, I would rent an RV and up to ten of us would pile in for a trip from Boston to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for six days of surfing.

As the years progressed, the numbers dwindled and the length of the trip shortened as we gained wives, careers and children. Three years had past since the last trip and I thought as many as six might make the trip to Puerto Rico once my friend Bill had kicked my tail and taken up the charge of arranging the accommodations. Eventually, the only ones to make the trip were Bill and myself.

Bill is a friend I've had for years. We met at a distinctly interesting time in our lives, both of us wrestling with our own little demons. But as I've often told him, he's the one who taught me the most about friendship. I've treated him like dog shit at times, and yet, he always knew why and always stuck by me as a friend, standing tall and strong at time when I really needed a shoulder to lean on. Even though some of his know-it-all qualities drive me absolutely bonkers some times (and I've told him so), there is no better friend in the world. And as he's said about friends, "you don't accept a friend just because of their good qualities, you accept them for everything that they are."

And that goes for life long friends, as well as family.

So even though I didn't come back after ten days away from home feeling like I had been on a ten day spa treatment (I think I was more tired when I came back than when I left), I know I came back with a much better perspective on friends, and family — something that make me feel much more relaxed — and isn't that the whole point of a vacation?


It is a very good idea to place a gazebo, pavilion structure, in your large garden or in your backyard to enjoy rainy weather. If you want to enjoy the sunny weather and the surrounding landscape while being sheltered from bad weather then sunroom is a perfect choice. But if you are person who wants to enjoy his own creation and stuff then shed is a perfect choice for you. There you can place your exercise stuff or it can be used as workshop.

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